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Mammal Tachyglossus aculeatus (Spiny ant eater. short beaked)

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
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Common Name: Echidna

Scientific Name: Tachyglossus aculeatus

Subclass: Prototheria

Order: Monotremata

Family: Tachyglossidae

Other Names: Spiny ant eater, Short beaked spiny ant eater.

Distribution: Australia wide with some occuring in Papua New Guinea. A related genus, the long beaked echidnas, occur in Papua and Indonesia, but are extremely rare.

Habitat: Most areas where termites are present. Echidnas require very little to survive, so can survive in many places.

Field Notes: Diurnal in lower temperatures, becomes crepuscular in warm weather, since echidna have no ability to sweat. No specific territory, but ranges widely in search of termites (major food source) and ants, which it captures with its sticky tongue. Can hibernate during winter. Lays eggs in a burrow rather than bearing live young. Powerful claws are used to rip open termite mounds, and burrowing when defending against predation. Covered in stout spines, which can be erected using a powerful muscle. A favourite food of many aboriginal groups, as well as uses in traditional medicine. Echidnas have electroreceptors, like the platypus, but far fewer. Echidnas are thought to have evolved from a water dwelling common ancestor.

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Hairyman

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Really hard to get a shot of the face.
......Is that a...... Dunlopi pedis (var lefty) in the background bro?
 

Dusty Miller

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Could be, have you heard its mating call, that would be helpful in identification. Might be able to get a shot of the face from a road kill. They burrow in pretty quick when alive. I bet there are always skid marks before a dead echidna on the road.
 

auscraft

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Corin

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Nice pictures Auscraft!

There was on of these running down the main st running into my town the other night. I stopped to chase him off the road and take some pictures, but all I got was a picture of a ball of quills very similar to Dusty Millers pics.
 

J.K.M

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Tachyglossus aculeatus 'setosus' - a Tasmanian sub-species which is both smaller and hairier than the mainland species. Widespread in Tasmania and is also found on some of Tasmania's surrounding islands.

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auscraft

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Yes Have seen the same in some of our pics but not sure if it was a tick, thanks for clearing that up.
ticks this year seem to be a problem
 

J.K.M

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Tachyglossus aculeatus 'setosus' - a Tasmanian sub-species which is both smaller and hairier than the mainland species. Widespread in Tasmania and is also found on some of Tasmania's surrounding islands.

Taken near Launceston, Tasmania (February, 2012) by JKM

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Hairyman

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Nice shots GB, must be used to people.
Longer hair than those in SEQld but not as hairy as JKM's Tassie echidnas.
 

Eugenio Coscarelli

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DSC_3266.jpgDSC_3279.jpgI came across a juvenile Echidna in February 2012 in a wetland near Port MacDonnell and watched it for half an hour just foraging and going about its business. It was approx 150mm in length and was quite amusing to watch when it went to scratch itself it would lose its balanace and fall over. When it suddenly realised I was there it made the best attempt it could at digging itself in. I just laughed took the photograph and then walked away and left it in peace.
 

Hairyman

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Here a pic taken late last August of a probable/possible nursery burrow, the only burrows echidnas dig.
DSCF3128 (640x487).jpg
It looked like this area was used year after year as there were a number of older burrows nearby.
 
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